It's about time we all make an ass of ourselves. No, I'm not trying to insult you, dear readers. But rather I'm talking about the best way to develop the gluteus maximus muscle or glutes. This muscle is the largest muscle in the human body. The function of the glutes is to straighten the leg at hip level. When the leg is flexed at the hip, the gluteus maximus extends it to bring the leg into a straight line with the body. Also when you squat down, the glutes along with the thighs, are the primary muscle allowing you to stand up again. Of course, this would mean that squat exercises of various types are among the best ways to develop the glutes. While that is true, doing squats as a major glut exercise has come under fire recently, with various self-styled pundits saying that squats don't work the glutes as much as most people think they do. This would be news to many bodybuilders who have avoided doing squats because of fears of building "a big ass." Indeed, the famed bodybuilding trainer of the 1960s, Vince Gironda, whose gym in North Hollywood, California produced many of the elite bodybuilding champions of the 60s and 70s, detested squats and even refused to put squat racks in his gym. According to Vince, doing heavy squats was a sure-fire way to overdevelop the glutes and also to build a wider waist. Of course, Vince also had no love for other exercises that he perceived as having too much glute activity, such as lunges.
But this isn't to say that Vince refused to recognize any kind of squat. His preference was mostly for hack squats, which involved doing squats with the back tilted at about a 45-degree angle. He felt that this placed more emphasis on the frontal thigh muscles without overly involving the glutes. But he did advocate one type of squat on a type of Smith machine apparatus that he had in his gym. The execution of this type of squat involved keeping the feet in front of the body so that the back was kept straight throughout the movement. Another type of squat that Vince favored was called "Sissy squats," and contrary to its name, this exercise was hardly for sissies. It involved hooking your feet under a type of special bench, then squatting while throwing your hips forward. Once again, Vince liked this exercise because it more or less cut the glutes out of the exercise while isolating the frontal thigh muscles.
When I first started training, unlike many others I paid close attention to my leg training. I did something called "breathing squats," which involved doing sets of 20 repetition squats and taking breaths in between each rep. As soon as I finished the squats I was breathing heavy but went right down on . . .